New director for Armacost

Gabriela Sonntag, new director of the Armacost Library, on how technology affects the library, and the role of the library in education.

Q. What role do you believe the library now plays in education?

"The library is more important now that it has ever been. While continuing the traditional role of provided access to a wealth of information in various formats print and electronic, today librarians have the more important task of teaching students how to distinguish amongst all the information that is readily available. Librarians teach the competencies needed to access, evaluate, and use information, helping students to gain a better understanding of what it means to be part of the academic community and doing college-level research."

Q. What part will you play in shaping that role for Armacost?

"My area of research is information literacy, which is defined as 'learning how to learn' by the American Library Association. I am reminded of Alvin Toffler’s statement regarding the illiterate of the 21st century as those who do not know how to learn, unlearn and relearn. My quest will be to find avenues for collaboration with others across campus and in the broader community to use the library as an opportunity to teach 21st century literacies. I like to think of the library as a playground for the mind, a place for self-directed learning and experimentation of ideas. I look forward to working with others to make this happen here in Redlands."

Q. How is technology affecting the library?

"Technology has had unimaginable impact on libraries and on our behavior in terms of finding information and learning. We cannot begin to fully understand this because it is constantly evolving, impacting our lives and how we work and play. On a more practical level, technology has revolutionized our collections, adding online resources and e-books, how we provide access to information, and how we work. Redlands has an incredibly rich library collection and technology is allowing us to expand in new ways. Our challenge is to revisit our practice and become a learning organization so that we can continue to evolve and adapt the way we work to meet the needs of our students."

Q. Has the way students use the library changed?

"The library is now both a physical and a virtual space with both physical and virtual collections. Students use the physical much as they always have—to find materials, to study, to meet in groups. But students are very quick to appreciate the virtual library and that is having a huge impact in how the library works and how our resources are allocated. As technology continues to shape our behavior, we must redesign the virtual library to meet student needs and expectations."

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